For many years nurses have been among the most trusted professions. Most of the time, nurses are in the top three, and it is considered a privilege to be the professionals that people trust.
The question is why are nurses trusted so much? What it is about the profession that causes others to trust them in their duties?
Many medical professionals are on this list, but nurses are the constant. It would help to explore why this is and to do even more to enhance those parts of our practice that make us the most trusted.
Of course, the primary responsibility of nurses is to help others, and people tend to trust those who genuinely want to be helpful. It is hard to believe that there would be any nurse who wouldn’t want to help others. It is almost in the job description.
But not all medical professionals necessarily want to help others… Well, that isn’t necessarily true.
Many do want to help others, but it isn’t as obvious for them as it is for nurses. For instance, doctors are trusted, but they aren’t as trusted as nurses because they are not seen as the caregivers that nurses are.
This means that nurses have an edge because they are at that bedside working hard, and patients notice that. Noticing it means they trust the nurse with their care.
A good nurse cares, but a great nurse advocates. It isn’t enough just to be that shoulder to cry on. A nurse often has to stand up for their patients, and help them get the care they need.
Patients see nurses fighting for them, and they understand this as a trustworthy trait. It is difficult to mistrust someone who is working so hard for you – especially in an area that a patient may not understand.
As a patient advocate, the nurse becomes even more a center of trust because the patient has to turn over their health to this person. They turn over their health to doctors, but patients don’t often see how doctors advocate for them.
Patients almost always see how nurses fight for them and that they are in their corner when it counts.
Finally, nurses are honest, and this means that patients know they can trust them. While it is true that not all nurses are unscrupulously honest, most patients believe that they are.
Nurses need to enhance this reputation for honesty by telling patients what the doctor said truthfully. If a nurse lies about what the doctor said, the patient will find out and they will not trust the nurse anymore.
Similarly, if a patient’s condition is dire, it often falls to the nurse to tell the patient and family about the situation. It isn’t that the doctors don’t. It’s that the patient usually doesn’t understand the ramifications of what the doctor’s said.
Some patients tend to mistrust doctors because they can feel they are not entirely honest. Only by developing that honest communication between nurse and patient can the profession continue to stay atop the list of the most trusted professionals.